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Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.

April 22nd, 2019

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005File:Turing1.jpg

More than 50 programmers, scientists, students, hobbyists and fans of the A.L.I.C.E. chat robot gathered in Guildford, U.K. on Friday to celebrate the tenth birthday of the award winning A.I. On hand was the founder the Loebner Prize, an annual Turing Test, designed to pick out the world’s most human computer according to an experiment laid out by the famous British mathematician Alan Turing more then 50 years ago. Along with A.L.I.C.E.’s chief programmer Dr. Richard S. Wallace, two other Loebner prize winners, Robby Garner and this year’s winner, Rollo Carpenter, also gave presentations, as did other finalists.

The University of Surrey venue was chosen, according to Dr. Wallace, not only because it was outside the U.S. (A.L.I.C.E.’s birthday fell on the Thanksgiving Day weekend holiday there, so he expected few people would attend a conference in America), but also because of its recently erected statue of Alan Turing, who posed the famous A. I. experiment which inspired much of the work on bots like A.L.I.C.E. University of Surrey Digital World Research Centre organizers Lynn and David Hamill were pleased to host the event because it encourages multi-disciplinary interaction, and because of the Centre’s interest in interaction between humans and computers.File:ALICE Birthday Cake.jpg

Dr. Wallace gave a keynote address outlining the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML. Many people commented on the fact the he seemed to have moved around a lot in the last ten years, having lived in New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Maine, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, while working on the Alicebot project. The A.L.I.C.E. and AIML software is popular among chat robot enthusiats primarily because of its distribution under the GNU free software license. One of Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint slides asked the question, “How do you make money from free software?” His answer: memberships, subscriptions, books, directories, syndicated ads, consulting, teaching, and something called the Superbot.

Rollo Carpenter gave a fascinating presentation on his learning bot Jabberwacky, reading from several sample conversations wherein the bot seemed amazingly humanlike. Unlike the free A.L.I.C.E. software, Carpenter uses a proprietary learning approach so that the bot actually mimics the personality of each individual chatter. The more people who chat with Jabberwacky, the better it becomes at this kind of mimicry.

In another interesting presentation, Dr. Hamill related present-day research on chat robots to earlier work on dialog analysis in telephone conversations. Phone calls have many similarities to the one-on-one chats that bots encounter on the web and in IM. Dr. Hamill also related our social expectations of bots to social class structure and how servants were expected to behave in Victorian England. He cited the famous Microsoft paperclip as the most egregius example of a bot that violated all the rules of a good servant’s behavior.

Bots have advanced a long way since philanthropist Hugh Loebner launched his controversial contest 15 years ago. His Turing Test contest, which offers an award of $100,000 for the first program to pass an “audio-visual” version of the game, also awards a bronze medal and $2000 every year for the “most human computer” according to a panel of judges. Huma Shah of the University of Westminster presented examples of bots used by large corporations to help sell furniture, provide the latest information about automotive products, and help customers open bank accounts. Several companies in the U.S. and Europe offer customized bot personalities for corporate web sites.

Even though Turing’s Test remains controversial, this group of enthusiastic developers seems determined to carry on the tradition and try to develop more and more human like chat bots.Hugh Loebner is dedicated to carry on his contest for the rest of his life, in spite of his critics. He hopes that a large enough constituency of winners will exist to keep the competition going well beyond his own lifetime. Dr. Wallace says, “Nobody has gotten rich from chat robots yet, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. There is such a thing as ‘bot fever’. For some people who meet a bot for the first time, it can pass the Turing Test for them, and they get very excited.”

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FAA orders review of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following week of incidents

April 22nd, 2019

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered a review Friday into the design and manufacture of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, following five incidents in five days involving the aircraft and two Japanese airlines.

On Monday, an electrical fire broke out aboard a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston’s Logan International Airport, when a battery pack which powers the auxiliary power unit, for when the plane is on the ground, caught fire. The fire was discovered by maintenance workers after passengers and crew disembarked following their flight from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

The next day, a separate Japan Airlines 787, also at Logan International Airport, heading to Tokyo, suffered a fuel leak that spilled around 40 gallons, which was spotted by the crew of the aircraft taxiing behind them. “That Japan Air may know it, but they’ve got fuel or something spilling out the outboard left wing. Quite a bit,” said the pilot of aircraft behind them on local air traffic control frequencies.

Wednesday, in Japan, an All Nippon Airways 787, the launch customer for the aircraft, cancelled a flight after a brake problem was reported.

Earlier Friday, two All Nippon Airways suffered separate incidents in Japan. An oil leak was noticed in the engine after one aircraft had landed in Miyazaki, coming from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Another flight, flying between Haneda Airport and Matsuyama said the pilot’s side window in the cockpit suffered a crack.

The FAA in a statement said “In light of a series of recent events, the FAA will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly.” Further adding, “The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety.”

According to the statement, “The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.” The Boeing 787 relies more on electrical, as opposed to mechanical, systems than past aircraft from the manufacturer including having electronics operate hydraulic pumps and using electric brakes. Large portions of the plane’s structure use lightweight carbon fiber composite instead of more traditional metal airframe.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “The safety of the traveling public is our top priority […] This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening,” said newly sworn-in FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

Boeing released a statement saying, “[The company] is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane. The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily.”

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Death toll up to six in Minneapolis bridge collapse

April 22nd, 2019

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Richard Stanek addressed reporters in a news conference on Friday morning, officially revising the death toll from the collapse of the I-35W bridge to five, up from four. This fifth victim was pulled from the wreckage of a tractor trailer rig which had been engulfed in flame.

According to Bloomberg the number of missing persons is currently eight.

Later that night, MSNBC‘s Keith Olbermann reported that the toll has risen again to six. This victim died after having been hospitalized.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in its 2005 report card said that the $59.4 billion spent annually to improve transportation infrastructure condition is well below the $94 billion needed.

byAlma Abell

Massachusetts homeowners may not receive the full benefits of their selected policy to protect their property. This is the case when they don’t evaluate products available to them fully. The first step in addressing this need is to establish the exact value of your home. If you’re in the process of buying, this information is readily available to you. However, if you’ve been paying a mortgage for a significant amount of time, you need to acquire an appraisal.

How to Buy Homeowner’s Insurance

Like mortgage lenders, insurers conduct a risk assessment for you. The basis of common risk factors are your job, current assets, and lifestyle. They present the insurer with statistics about you that determine whether you present a higher risk than average.

As an example, homeowners who are smokers increase the risk of a house fire. Insurance carriers consider this element when tailoring insurance policies. If you’d like to receive Home Insurance Quotes in Boston based on this factor, contact your preferred carrier now.

Comparison Shopping for Insurance

Here’s how to determine which carrier is right for you. Instead of presenting themselves as possessing the lowest rates, they’ll provide you with Home Insurance Quotes in Boston for the same products offered by other companies. When they perform this task correctly, they won’t always be identified as the most affordable option.

The point is, however; to review the terms of the policy and determine, which meets your needs adequately. The policy should offer a wide range of benefits, including the full replacement cost of your property. You’ll need housing allowance, in the event that a disaster strikes. Review your policy to establish what disasters and other events are covered. Some policies won’t protect you against floods. Visit for more details.

A full assessment of homeowner’s insurance policies helps you find the correct option for your circumstances. Discounts are often available to homeowners under certain conditions, which are beyond standard opportunities. However, you should inquire about discounts based on your lifestyle when common risks are reduced. If you wish to acquire free Home Insurance Quotes in Boston, you should contact Sawyer Insurance Agency Inc. today.

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Car bomb explodes near MI5 army base in Northern Ireland

April 20th, 2019

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Monday, April 12, 2010

A car bomb has exploded outside an army base in Northern Ireland that is the headquarters for MI5 domestic security services. The attack has been claimed by dissidents from the Real Irish Republican Army, a more radical splinter group of the IRA.

According to police, Real IRA members hijacked a vehicle from a taxi driver in Belfast; Al Jazeera reports it was commandeered at gunpoint. A bomb was planted in the car, which was then driven to the rear of the Palace Barracks.

The explosion comes several hours before the Northern Ireland Assembly was scheduled to appoint its first justice minister, and only minutes after the Belfast power-sharing administration regained control over justice and policing in the province for the first time in nearly four decades.

An Ulster Unionist member of the Belfast Policing Board, Basil McCrea, commented on the explosion, saying: “It’s obviously people trying to make a statement about the transfer of policing and justice powers. We are going to have to expect more of this over the next period of time […] There will be people who will try to disrupt the process,” as quoted by the BBC.

He commented that he believed the incident was a “one-off” occurrence, and said he tried to reassure concerned locals in the area.

Police said IRA dissidents held a Belfast taxi driver at gunpoint in his home and used his vehicle to carry the bomb to the rear of Palace Barracks. Witnesses report hearing an explosion shortly after midnight local time; Al Jazeera puts the precise time of the detonation at 00.24 local time (23.24 UTC). One man was hospitalised following the bombing, although there are no reports of deaths.

According to a local journalist, security has cordoned off the area near the explosion.

Truck bomb in Iraq kills over 100

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Truck bomb in Iraq kills over 100

April 17th, 2019

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

On Saturday, a suicide truck bomb in a Shiite village, Tuz Khurmato, north of Baghdad damaged homes, shops and a large outdoor market. The bomb blast, blamed on Sunni militants, killed at least 100 and wounded another 250 Iraqi civilians.

Choosing The Right Materials For Your Windows In Connecticut

April 16th, 2019

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byadmin

With the costs of keeping your home warm or cool increasing, purchasing energy efficient windows has become even more attractive over the years. Knowing very little about the process involved with choosing efficient windows, you may be inclined to simply take the advice of friends or family members, do not choose your windows based on hearsay alone. Conduct research and choose windows that will be best for your family because installing windows can be a big investment. You want to find windows that will help you save on your energy bill while fitting into your budget. It may not be wise to choose a window that will cost you so much that it will take a significant time to see the return on your investment. Additionally, the material you choose will be an important consideration.

You have the choice of a variety of looks for your windows. Keep in mind, different materials are able to insulate your home better than others. Traditionally, vinyl will offer you a variety of appealing looks for your home. However, when installing vinyl it may look good but it does not insulate as good as wooden windows. If you choose to install wooden Windows Connecticut you will have to do a little more maintenance than if you would have chosen a vinyl window. Wood windows have endured over the years and because of a variety of treatment options, some are able to withstand high humidity and termite attacks. With all the wood treatments that are available to you still must consider maintaining your wood Windows Connecticut more than maintaining other materials. Aluminum windows are a great option for your home. Though they are not as insulated as wooden windows, they are able to withstand a variety of environmental elements. Rain, harsh winds, and humidity will all prove to be unmatched with regard to aluminum windows.

Although you have a lot of options for choosing Windows CT, you must consider how efficient you would like your windows to be, how you would like them to look and the maintenance associated with keeping your windows functional. You should consider all alternatives and thoroughly research all the options before choosing which window to purchase.

US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

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US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

April 16th, 2019

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

News briefs:May 27, 2010

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News briefs:May 27, 2010

April 14th, 2019

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John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years

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John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years

April 10th, 2019

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.